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A deeper look into the birth injuries leading to cerebral palsy

When cerebral palsy comes to mind, many Maryland residents may automatically attribute the condition to brain damage. And they might be partially correct. Cerebral palsy is a medical condition associated with a disorder of the nervous system that impairs control of body movement. This disorder may arise from damage to a developing brain. Unfortunately, cerebral palsy often affects infants and young children.

Cerebral palsy starts at an early age, and worsens over time. The symptoms of this brain damage may change and can gradually affect the patient's body. One of its life-altering effects is disability. In fact, cerebral palsy is one of the leading causes of chronic disability in children. In Maryland and across the United States, nearly 10,000 infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy annually. Approximately 764,000 Americans have cerebral palsy, according to the data provided by the United Cerebral Palsy Association. Children diagnosed with this brain disorder may experience some level of mental retardation and have seizures. Cerebral palsy causes learning disabilities and speech, hearing, vision and language problems.

The possible causes of cerebral palsy are infections during birth, poor oxygen supply to the brain and birth injuries. These three causes can be linked directly to medical errors committed by doctors during the birthing process. The treating physician is responsible for ensuring an adequate supply of oxygen to the infant, particularly during unreasonable delay in the birthing process. Physicians are also responsible for monitoring the condition of the baby during birth. Failure to recognize prolonged bleeding in the baby's brain can also be considered a medical error.

In addition to oxygen deprivation to the infant's brain during labor and delivery, significant trauma to the head during birth can also cause this condition.

Source: Webmd.com, "Understanding Cerebral Palsy," Accessed on Nov. 26, 2014

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